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 Saturday 14th of October 2006
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Working Out

People have a lot of reasons for not exercising. The main ones are 1) lack of time and 2) inconvenience. At least that's what they say. The real reason people don't exercise, or drop an exercise program after only a short period of time is because it's not fun. That is, literally, the Number One reason why a lot of you aren't getting off the couch.

Think about it. If exercising was fun, if you enjoyed doing it and looked forward to your sessions, you would make time for it - the same way you make time for that certain television show or a trip across town to buy that special ice cream. But if it's something you dread, if you think it's boring and torturous, you'll come up with any excuse to avoid it. No matter how many times you hear how health-enhancing it is, how it increases you longevity and long-term mobility, you'll still try to get out of doing it. Life's short enough - why waste it doing something you hate?

And that's just the point - why waste your time doing something you hate? Exercise is fun, and if you don't think it is, then you haven't been doing it right. It doesn't matter if you squat with perfect form at the gym and have the most expensive, high-tech running shoes on the market - if you hate the gym and you can't stand running, you are not exercising right. You know you're doing it wrong when your gym membership lapses and those fancy shoes are collecting dust in the closet. You need to learn the right way to exercise - the fun way. Here are some tips:

The first thing you need to do if you want to make fitness fun is to stop calling what you do a "workout." What do you think of when you hear the word "work"? Drudgery. Boredom. Something difficult and unpleasant. Something you have to do, not want to do. You get the idea. So can the word "workout." Even "exercise" doesn't have the most positive connotations. What you are doing by exercising is becoming more active. You're really searching out new, fun activities here. That's play time, not work time! If you must call it something, say you're "being active" or "playing around."

Choose activities that you enjoy. If you hate the stationary bike, then don't do it! In fact, you don't have to use any of those cardio machines if the sight of them makes you sick. There are loads of other ways to get your heart pumping. Maybe aerobic dance - or any other form of energetic dancing - would be more appropriate for you. Maybe you'd like to go biking out of doors, or run on a track instead of a treadmill. Or perhaps you'd enjoy inline skating or hiking.

Then there's walking. Almost everyone likes walking, and it's the fitness activity that people are most likely to stick to. It's great getting outside and watching the scenery and the seasons change. If the weather or your neighborhood is bad, try walking at a nearby mall. When you notice how much better your body feels after a couple of weeks of being active, you'll start looking forward to your walk - and you may even come up with some other active choices.